About Us


It is the duty of the vestry to promote the church to the existing congregation and the parish that
surrounds the church as well as the image that is portrayed by the church. 

An Episcopal Vestry

An Episcopal vestry is a group of elected parish members who oversee the church operations. The vestry assists the rector and have promotional, institutional, financial, and personnel responsibilities within the church.
It is the duty of the vestry to promote the church to the existing congregation and the parish that surrounds the church as well as the image that is portrayed by the church. Through this promotional program the church will be able to grow and attract new members to the congregation.   The vestry is also responsible for the maintenance of the church property and handles the financial responsibilities of the church. The members will oversee the donations and tithes as well as dispersing funds to programs ran by the church. The taxes, utilities, payroll and other financial responsibilities are also approved and paid out by the members of the episcopal vestry. Finally, the vestry members have the duty to identify individuals who can fill open positions at the church and for providing training and guidance to those individuals.

Our Senior Warden

Ashley Brinson Cusack
I have been a member at St. Thomas most of my life. I was married at St. Thomas and my children went through elementary school here. I sat on the vestry for almost 8 years while Father Mario was our priest and am currently a board member for the school. In that role I sit on the vestry as the liaison between the board and vestry. My goal has always been to see the school and church work together as we are one. I worked on hospitality for years with the hope of helping to grow the church. I am very optimistic that now is our opportunity to bring new members in and old members back. Father Tim’s welcoming message and open spirit has us on the right track.

Members of the Vestry

Vivian More Cortinas-Jr. Warden
Vivian Cortinas, a native of Cuba, has lived in Miami for the last 41 years. She has a BS in electrical engineering and is vice president of Applications Shared Services for Marriott Vacations Worldwide, where she is responsible for providing services for overall IT Business Analysis, Project Management, Quality Assurance, and Release Management. At St. Thomas Church, she has served on the vestry, has co-chaired multiple church ministries, and has been a choir member, Lay Reader, and Chalice Bearer. In the Diocese, she has served on the Bishop's Council of Advice on Human Sexuality, has been a delegate to the annual Episcopal Diocesan Convention, and was co-host of an Episcopal radio show that was broadcasted live, every Saturday morning, for a year. At STEPS, Vivian has served on the Board of Trustees and was president of the STEPS Parents’ Association twice. At Palmer Trinity School, Vivian is currently a member of the Board of Trustees and part of the Advanced Gifts Committee. She also served as secretary, president-elect, and president of the Palmer Trinity Parents’ Association. She is married to Henry Cortinas and has two children.
Deborah (Debbie) Klem Pergakis-Treasurer
Debbie Klem Pergakis has been a member of St. Thomas for over 25 years and has served on the Altar Guild for most of that time. She and her husband Paul raised their two sons, now grown, at St. Thomas, where they were acolytes and participants in the youth programs. Debbie graduated from Indiana University and received an MA in accounting from FIU. She has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1986. Semi-retired now, she was Regional Finance Director for AECOM, a publicly traded architectural, engineering and construction firm. She had various roles over her 45 years of service (she originally started with Spillis Candela & Partners, a regional architectural/engineering firm that was acquired by AECOM in 1999). Early in her career, Debbie was a board member of the Historical Museum and of Greater Miami Executive’s Association (a networking group). Currently, she is semi-retired and working with the South Florida SPCA for large animals and the Junior Orange Bowl Tennis Tournament.

Richard Grillo-Chancellor
Richard Allen Grillo Esq. is executive vice president, general counsel, and owner of Miami Regional University (MRU) in Miami Springs. Prior to MRU, he was an assistant county attorney at the Broward County Attorney’s Office where he handled litigation, appeals, and advised the canvassing board on election laws and the human rights board. Grillo also served as an officer in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve for more than 15 years.
His community involvement has included hosting charitable fundraising events at MRU, Cub Scout leadership, and the Peter T. Fay American Inns of Court. Grillo earned his law degree at St. Thomas University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Oglethorpe University. Grillo is a resident of Palmetto Bay with his wife, Lara, a fellow PTS alum, and their three young children.

Charles “Charlie” Mitchell
I moved to Miami during 1986 to join the faculty of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine where I am still engaged in research related to Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Jan and I have been St. Thomas church members for over 30 years. Our daughters were baptized here by Father Tobin who also married Katie, our oldest, and Sean. Recently, he also baptized their daughter Kit, our first grandchild. St. Thomas is our home.

I have lived in South Florida since 1978, a graduate of Nova Southeastern University with a Masters in Business. I have thirty years plus experience in Sales, Marketing, Hospitality and Real Estate. I am a Residential/ Commercial Realtor at Coldwell Banker Realty with Specialization – GREEN Technology; At Home With Diversity; Certified International Properties Specialist; Seniors Real Estate Specialist; Military Relocation Professional. My wife Margaret Brisbane and I have been a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church for over 25 years.

Juan Eugenio Rodríguez
Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Juan Eugenio joined the St. Thomas Choir and began to participate in the life of our community, when his partner Gene Greco became Music Director in 2017. Previously, he was a member of the church and choir at St. Faith’s in Cutler Bay and St. Phillips in Coral Gables. Juan has been very active helping to lead various initiatives to sustain and enhance the life of our parish, including leading the Virtual Coffee hour, singing and recording music for our virtual services, organizing bicycle outings and supporting various other programs such as the virtual Education Hour and Zoom Cooks.
Professionally, Juan has led various entrepreneurial and transformational initiatives in a variety of industries including IT consulting, government, healthcare, education and retail distribution. In addition, Juan serves as a Board member for two health technology companies and an NGO that promotes transparent and responsible government.
Juan holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University, an MS in Materials Science and Engineering and an MBA from Stanford University.
Lawrence Wayne Brown Junior
Lawrence Brown was born in Brazil and grew up in New Jersey. He was raised Dutch Reformed (though his father’s side was Episcopalian), attended a Roman Catholic prep school, and then graduated from Villanova University (also Catholic). After college he was commissioned in the US Air Force, attaining the rank of Captain. After his military service, he attended the NYU Stern School of Business, leading to a career in finance in New York and later in Sao Paulo, where he reconnected with Luciana De Benedictis. They married in 2014 and moved to Miami when Lawrence received an offer to work for Burger King Corporation as the CFO for North America. Recently he moved to Fat Tuesday as the CFO / CDO. Lawrence and Luciana’s connection with the Episcopal Church grew when they were looking for a warm, down-to-earth place to baptize their sons, and they joined St. Philip’s. In 2020 Luciana was selected to work for St. Thomas Episcopal School as the guidance counselor, and they became members of St. Thomas Church also. Their older son attends STEPS, and next year their younger son will also.

Kevin Orgill
Kevin Orgill’s family was active at St. Thomas before Kevin was even born. Kevin was baptized and confirmed at St. Thomas, and several years ago he married Maggie at St. Thomas. He attended elementary school at STEPS and served as an acolyte at church. Kevin attended FIU, where he graduated with a double major in psychology and interdisciplinary studies. During college, Kevin was a youth leader at St. Thomas and then youth director, designing a program that included, in addition to on-campus activities, outreach locally and mission trips to other states. Locally he took the group to Chapman Partnership to serve meals and play with the children, and they organized food drives for Holy Comforter. He helped lead three mission trips during his tenure, two to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and one to rural Tennessee. Currently he is involved with the training of acolytes and with Eucharistic Ministries. Kevin teaches math at Doral Academy Charter Middle School. He is the sponsor/advisor for the school’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, and he has also coached middle school football.

Joan Caron
Joan Caron is a lifelong Episcopalian. She attended and later taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. She was in the Girls’ Friendly Group, sang in the children’s choir, and attended summer Episcopal retreats at Camp Wingmann in Avon Park. In high school she played the organ in the St. Thomas Becket Chapel for the children’s Sunday service. Her family life centered on St. Thomas, where her sister graduated from STEPS and her mother (Jesse Caron) was parish secretary for more than 20 years. 
Joan is active in the St. Joan’s Guild and coordinates volunteers for our Chapman Partnership Homestead food service. She received a Master’s in Special Education/Psychology and taught children in Virginia and Miami. She served for two years in the Peace Corps in El Salvador, where she learned to speak Spanish. For 25 years she worked at the Miami Seaquarium training dolphins, sea lions, and orcas and collaborating with manatee rescue facilities. At retirement, she was the Curator of Animals for Seaquarium, managing the entire animal department and providing leadership in mentoring, animal safety and welfare, staff training, and outreach. Post-retirement Joan has worked with cat rescue groups to reduce the unsterilized cat population and find good adoptive homes. Joan has served as board director/president of her 204-unit condo association since 2014, overseeing multiple large and small HOA projects including the 40-year condo renovation and recertification.

Daniel "Danny" Garcia
Daniel (Danny) Antonio Garcia was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami. He has remained in Miami for the past 33 years. He is married to Melissa Duffy and together they share three daughters, ages 16, 14, and 5. Their youngest daughter currently attends STEPS. Pursuing a place to call home, he and his wife found St. Thomas as a place to grow in faith and community. During the pandemic, Danny found an unexpected opportunity to further support St. Thomas, assisting in bringing service to those needing to stay safe at home. Further, Danny has supported the technology that brings services and special events via live stream. This has proved exceptionally rewarding and has brought him the opportunity to build new and fulfilling relationships with parishioners and members of the St. Thomas staff. This work has also deepened Danny’s faith and connection to the work of the church. Professionally, Danny has been in leadership for 20+ years, the last 15 years with Apple. During his time with Apple, Danny has supported the expansions of their retail stores globally and managed multiple successful pilots and projects. Currently, Danny sits on the Leadership Board for Inclusion and Diversity for Apple. Here he has led the building of community and volunteerism throughout the Southeast, focusing on creating opportunities and awareness for underrepresented groups. At home Danny loves nothing more than to spend quality time with his family, and he works tirelessly to balance his focus on work, faith, and family.

Miguel San Pedro
Miguel was born in Miami, grew up in a Cuban American family, and was raised Roman Catholic. After graduating from Christopher Columbus High School, Miguel attended the University of Miami where he met his husband, Danny Almeida, and where he obtained a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Taxation. Miguel and Danny lived in Bentonville, Arkansas, from 2017 to 2021, where Miguel worked for Walmart Inc. in the Tax Department, focusing on international tax planning and mergers and acquisitions. While at Walmart, Miguel was on Team GIVE which provided volunteer opportunities to Tax Department employees including a monthly partnership with First United Methodist Church of Bentonville to provide meals to the needy. After relocating back to Miami, Miguel and Danny began attending St. Thomas Episcopal Church in search of a welcoming place where their family could not only worship but also make friends and give back to the community. Miguel is a Certified Public Accountant and has previously worked for Ernst & Young LLP, where he advised US multinational companies on international tax issues and transaction structuring.

Julia "Julie" Catherine Johnson
Julie served as the Parish Administrator at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church for 18 years and obtained an understanding of the workings of an Episcopal Church and its relationship to the Diocese. She was a chorister at both St. Philip’s from the early ‘60s until she went to graduate school and at St. Thomas from late 2000 to now. Julie left St. Philip’s when she was offered a full scholarship and position as a Teaching Assistant in the History Department of Florida International University. She completed her Master’s Degree in History in August of 1998 and was offered a position in the Advancement Department. In 2004, Dr. Priscilla Potter, a member of St. Thomas, offered Julie a position as her administrative assistant in the Curriculum Department of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. After Dr. Potter left the University, Julie was promoted to Office Manager as well as Chief Proctor. Julie has been Chief Proctor for approximately 5,400 doctors. Julie assumed responsibility over the administration of the Medical School Student Research Program and mentored up to 50 students a year who were working toward Academic Research Credit and the prestigious award of Graduation with Research Distinction. Julie found this work enormously rewarding. As much as Julie enjoyed her time at the “U,” she will retire after 18 years of service to the school next July. If elected to the Vestry, she would enjoy giving service to St. Thomas.